The Global Fund enters its pledging conference on Wednesday well short of its minimum target of $18 billion to fight HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria over the next five years.
Organized by US President Joe Biden on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the seventh replenishment conference is the culmination of a months-long fundraising campaign that has galvanized thousands of people worldwide.
“We have an unprecedented number of Heads of State coming forward and in fact we are really delighted with the momentum as we enter these final hours,” Global Fund Executive Director Peter Sands said on Monday. of a private sector conference.
The Global Fund has already saved 50 million lives since its launch in 2002, according to its recent Results report – mainly by enabling people living with HIV to obtain antiretroviral drugs. He says he can save an additional 20 million lives between 2023 and 2028 if he increases his target budget.
“In 2000, life expectancy in Malawi was 46 years,” Sands said. “In 2019, 19 years later, life expectancy in Malawi was 65. So in 19 years, 19 years of life expectancy have been added. Two-thirds of this difference was due to reductions in mortality from HIV, tuberculosis and malaria.
Sands said it had a “transformative impact” on Malawi and other countries.
“We hope to save 20 million lives and reduce the death rate from the three diseases by almost two-thirds by 2026, which is not very far. It will have a similar transformational impact,” Sands added.
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— Friends of the Global Fight (@theglobalfight) September 18, 2022
The United States promises a third of the budget
At last count, only four countries had made their pledges known and their combined pledges reached $8.66 billion. The lion’s share comes from the United States, which has pledged $6 billion, or a third of the requested budget.
Germany pledged $1.3 billion and Japan $1.08 billion, a 30% increase over previous years. Sweden pledges $280 million, a cut of $10 million as the war in Ukraine eats away at its resources.
However, the UK, France, Canada and the European Commission – the Global Fund’s other main backers – have yet to declare their pledges. The Global Fund is requesting a $4 billion increase from its previous three-year funding cycle, in part to offset the impact of COVID-19.
Over the past few days, there has been a frenzy of activity in New York to support the replenishment, including electronic billboards in Times Square, an opening reception and a private sector conference.
Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), told the private sector conference that the Global Fund was “literally one of the best investments the Gates Foundation has ever made in anything and in especially in global health”.
“My boss, Bill Gates, called it one of the best, kindest things people have ever done for each other,” Suzman said Monday.
The BMGF is the largest private sector donor to the Global Fund, and Suzman announced that $100 million of the money he intends to pledge has been allocated to unlock private sector matching funds.
“Fifty million lives saved over the past two decades is an incredible tribute to the collaboration, partnership, commitment and dedication of so many people around the world, and the private sector has been fundamentally essential to this success” , did he declare.
“What is less known is how the Global Fund, driven by private sector initiatives, quickly mobilized during COVID-19 to help maintain essential services for HIV, TB and malaria, while fighting the pandemic using its expertise in supply and distribution in critical areas. like oxygen, saving many more lives.
Sands told the private sector conference that his organization launched the investment case for the Seventh Replenishment on the day Russia invaded Ukraine, and knew that was a difficult issue in the current climate.
“But we have to succeed because we have been knocked down by COVID-19. And we are in a world where conflict, food and hunger crises, climate change events only make everything harder, and especially for the world’s poorest and most marginalized,” Sands said. .
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